1. Have you worked on
any other Topps assignments other than Garbage Pail Kids?
And, how did you find yourself freelancing for the Topps Company?
Yes, I've worked on a couple of projects for the Topps Company.
I did some illustrations for the Hollywood Zombies series
and I provided some animation and character designs for a new animated
project, soon to be released.
I started freelancing for
Topps by being at the right place at the right time. I attended
a comic convention and The Wayans Bros. were promoting their new
card series, 'The Dozens' at the Topps booth. Since I had previously
met Marlon Wayans a couple of years back on another job and found
out that he was at the convention, I wanted to stop by his booth
and say "Hi". By the time I got to the Topps booth he
and his brother were gone.
I met Jeff Zapata and showed him my portfolio. He liked my samples
and a couple of months later I received a GPK illustration
test. I had to illustrate Pingitore's sketch of Armless AARON. I
took the test, Topps liked it and ended up printing the illustration
ANS5: 15a ARMLESS AARON - 15b UNARMED ADRIAN
2. What is your preferred
technique of creating art? Or rather, what is your method, process
or art style that you usually paint in and what materials did you
use for your GPK artwork?
I generally like to work in traditional mediums like Inks, Watercolors,
Gouache, Acrylics, and Oils, although I do illustrate in digital
mediums as well. The illustrations for GPK ANS 5 &
6 were painted in Acrylics and the illustrations for ANS 7 were
all done digitally.
3. What type of art background do you have and what other projects
did you work on before starting at Topps (schooling, jobs, projects,
I come from a realistic commercial illustration background. I went
to College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, where I received
a BFA in Illustration. At the time my artwork was more on the realistic
side. I also did caricatures that were rendered very realistically
for a few magazine companies, and had an interest in traditional
2D animation, which led to me working on television commercials
as a 2D animator. From that, I was given the opportunity to work
as an intern at The Walt Disney Feature Animation department in
California and Florida.
ANS5: B11 OPERA URSULA
The knowledge and experience
I acquired from the Disney internships opened more doors of artistic
opportunity. I moved to California and "got my foot in the
door" within the animation industry, working at various studios
like Disney, Warner Brothers Animation, and Klasky Csupo.
4. Several of your final pieces stem from concept artwork from
artists such as Pingitore and Wheaton
do you feel obligated
to keep close to the original concept idea, or do you have freedom
to throw in your own interpretation? How is it working with, and
being art directed by Zapata? I've noticed your characters distinctively
have, if dismembered, plastic doll arm, leg or head attachments
how did this creative idea come about?
Unless otherwise directed by Topps, I try to stay true to what the
conceptual artist is trying to convey in the gag. Pingitore and
Wheaton are great conceptual artists, so if the concepts are on
point, I am free to interpret the details, color scheme, background
layout of the final illustration and I might throw in extra props
(or poop) here and there to emphasize the gag more. That's the main
focus for me.
ANS5: 33a TETHER BILL - 33b SPORTY SPENCER
Jeff Zapata is a great guy
and easy to work with. The whole plastic doll look stemmed from
"Armless AARON", my first GPK painting. At the
time I had Pingitore's sketch to work from and I asked Zapata should
there be bones sticking out of Aaron's armless body. He told me
to think of the body like that of a toy doll, so I made the dismembered
body and parts like a toy doll.
5. You started working on GPK during ANS5 completing four
pieces (cards 15, 26, 33 & B11) for
the set. Your pieces for "Armless AARON" and "Tether
BILL" for ANS5 were some of my favorites. You then finished
one piece for the ANS6 set (card 11), why only one piece for this
set and does other work prevent you from working on GPK more, or
does it depend on what Topps needs for a particular set?
Well it depends on what Topps needs for a set. At the time of ANS6
I was exclusively working on the Hollywood Zombies series
and wasn't scheduled to do any painting for Garbage Pail Kids.
Card 11 for GPK ANS6 was originally going to be painted by
another artist that couldn't do it, so I was asked to paint it as
a last minute rush job. I know some die hard fans had problems with
that particular card..."My bad!"
ANS6: 11a SNAKES IN DWAYNE - 11b TAPEWORM TANNER
6. As briefly mentioned
on the GPK Underground, your ANS7 artwork has been done digitally
(cards 23, 28, 36 and 45), which is interesting when it comes to
the idea of collectors wanting to purchase the final artwork. I
know Zapata had you plug several GPK website names for your
"Car JACK" piece, I wanted to say "THANK YOU"
for paying tribute to my website, I know I'd be very interested
in any prints you may sell of that artwork. Would you consider selling
quality (maybe numbered) prints of your artwork?
Illustrating the ANS7 cards digitally was a result of timing. I
was working on another job as a storyboard artist and animator,
so in order to reach the deadline I had to digitally illustrate
I was a little bummed out that some of the GPK websites were
left out of "Car JACK". If there is a list somewhere that
has all of the current GPK websites, please let me know just
in case I have another painting that requires "shout outs"
to the websites.
As mentioned on the "GPK Underground" website, I would
be happy to sell prints. Due to my freelance work schedule, I haven't
been able to make this happen as of yet but when I get a breather,
I will make prints for those who want them.
ANS7: 36a CAR JACK - 36b SCRAP HEATH
7. If a future ANS8 set
materializes, would you consider participating in sketch cards if
that chase card was resurrected for that release? Have you ever
done any sketch card work?
I would love to do some sketch cards for GPK or for any other
Topps card sets. I've collected quite a few sketch cards from other
artists and tend to like them. I love the looseness of the line
that sometimes gets lost in the rendered paintings of the final.
Hopefully I'll get a chance to work on them. I have plenty of sketch
card samples of my own.
8. Do you ever feel any pressure to live up to hardcore GPK
fans' expectations of what GPK should look like? Have you
received any constructive criticism or pay any attention to the
online message boards regarding your work?
As a commercial artist, I'm commissioned to provide artwork to sell
a product, so I have to know my target audience and the fan base
of the product. I try to see what the fans like and what they are
looking for in GPK cards. I listen to constructive criticism
and try to adjust if needed. The measuring rod in illustrating GPK
cards is John Pound and the filter is Topps, whom in the end has
the final say and approval. So, I try to do the best I can as an
Illustrator to capture that GPK look. Sometimes you hit a
home run, sometimes you don't.
ANS7: 23a GATOR ABE - 23b WE WINNIE
9. Were you previously
aware of, or a fan of GPK from the 80's or the Wacky Packages
parody cards throughout the decades? How do you feel about working
on the all-new reincarnation of these Topps products now?
I was a fan of Garbage Pail Kids, and a huge fan of Wacky
Packages growing up. Too bad I took all of my stickers and stuck
them onto my grade school notebook when I was a kid that I no longer
have. This was before the revelation of 'collectable assets' came
into my existence. So many stickers gone forever...D'OH!!!
I'm excited to be part of the Topps family of artists, where's so
much talent and history. It's like being a kid in the candy store.
I love working on the cards and being a part of the team.
45a MANUEL LABOR - 45b LANDON SCAPING
10. Where else can we
find DeJarnette artwork (including websites, etc.)? And are there
any personal projects you're currently working on or will be working
My portfolio website is www.dejarnettedesigns.com and my blog with
updated artwork is www.dejarnettedesigns.blogspot.com. I just finished
illustrating a book for comedian Jeff Foxworthy titled, "How
To Really Stink At Golf" and a few animated commercials for
the studios. I am currently working on a few animation projects
of my own to be posted on the web soon. Thanks AJ!